From Theory to Practice: Taking General Systems Theory from a Theoretical Concept to a Successful Business Practice

Billy Dawson


This paper will introduce a new comprehensive, scalable, and systemic business model based on Ludwig von Bertalanffy's Informal Survey of Main Levels in the Hierarchy of Systems, (pursuant to Kenneth Boulding). This new model, greatly influenced by von Bertalanffy's thoughts and observations in his seminal book, General Systems Theory, also incorporates developments in general systems theory as well as other complementary disciplines to form a cogent and dynamic new model for business organizational thinking.

The development of this new model, keys into von Bertalanffy's statements that "general systems theory should further be an important regulative device in science" and that " the existence of laws of similar structures in different fields makes possible the use of models which are simple and better known, for more complicated and less manageable phenomena."

This enterprise-wide model can be used both as a managerial tool and as an organizational framework. It is an "open-systems" model, which may be used for an existing business as well as for the creation of new business ventures. A general overview of the model's fields, functions, and relationships are provided.

This research seeks to further bridge the gap between scientific thought and operational practice for the development and continuance of more natural and organic organizations. Recommendations for the use of this model and implications of its application are also explained.


systems theory for business; operationalizing systems theory; general systems model for a business enterprise

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